Learning Trust the Hard Way
Being out of control is something that I always find challenging. I want to be in control. I want to know what is going to happen. Deep down I crave the predictable. Give it to me straight up, let me know my options, let me know the rules and then I’ll come up with a game plan complete with vision statement and priorities for how to make this thing work. Truthfully, there is going to come a point in time where either Africa beats this “need to be in control” out of me or it will kill me. God has been using these challenges round the corners off of my hard edges…at least I hope that’s what’s happening.
There are so many examples I could list just from the last week where the unpredictable grabbed me in such a way that I was left floundering for a bit. One was last week when my camera was stolen right out of my hand while I was taking a picture in broad daylight. Didn’t see that one coming. Or, take our new house that we are moving into. We can’t get a firm move in date because the people moving out hit a snag with the house they are moving into, so there is no information about when we can move into this house that we have signed for. Maybe in 9 days. Maybe next month. Maybe 3 months. But, we do know that we are out of our current house on December 1st. Or take the stove that I was buying in Mercato that went up by $60 US from the agreed on price because they knew it was the last one with a gas oven and that I really wanted it. Yes, the law of supply and demand has influence here as well. There is no certainty. There are plenty of things to be anxious about…all of which lie outside of my control. Those are just couple of examples…I won’t bore you with the many that I could list.
After all, it really isn’t about the inconvenience or my pitiful reactions to the inconveniences. Rather, deep down it is about how my reactions show me those places in my character that have yet to be touched by God. Why do I keep some of these places hidden from God’s sight? Why do I try to convince myself that I am in control or bother myself with thinking about things that are far beyond my pay grade or influence? Of course the pat answer is “human nature,” yet to lean on that for a reason to not grow would be pathetic at best.
In this place, I have been challenged by Psalm 131.
“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!”
I love David’s humility here. Even as the king and as one after God’s heart he sees his place. He is the ruler of the roost within Judah, yet he sees that there are so many things even larger than him. He has tried to stay within the bounds of trust. He has not meddled where he didn’t belong or developed colossal plans beyond his authority. He says that he has kept his feet on the ground – a declaration of humility. A declaration of “I will play the part of me, and I will let You play the part of God.” I think that an attitude of humility to this extent would serve me well. Of course in the fire this kind of attitude can be developed – if I will only stay open to it.
What is even more satisfying to me than this attitude of humility is the end result of relationship as David describes it. Other translations give us an enhanced image of a weaned child in the arms of his or her mother. The picture of contentment is compelling to me. A baby that needs nothing, that is safe, secure and satisfied…and that trusts that the next meal is going to come, too. The baby is content, full of trust and full of hope. It makes me think of Hanna on Sunday mornings when we are in church and her belly is full and she climbs up on my lap and just sits and cuddles. She is not anxious nor does she really want anything, other than relationship in that moment. There are things she could be worried about, but at the age of 2 they are beyond her capacity to be concerned with. This is the kind of quiet heart that David has cultivated. David had a rough life. David was faced with plenty of choices of whether to cultivate a trustful, quiet heart or a bitter, anxious heart. Yet, the quality of his trust in God is a mark worth aiming for.
I want that. I want that quiet, contented heart that can WAIT with Hope and can proclaim Hope Now, Hope Always. I want that kind of trust of God to sit contented in his arms, knowing that there are many many things that are outside of my control and that truly do not concern me. I can choose to be concerned about them, yet they truly do not concern me. It is beautiful to think that it all lies within His control and He will take care of all of it. I am free to Wait with Hope.
O God…may I, like David, cultivate a deeper level of contentment and trust in You.